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August 30, 2009

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Girl snatchers in court

THE couple accused of kidnapping an 11-year-old girl and keeping her hidden in their backyard for 18 years have pleaded not guilty to dozens of charges as police searched their San Francisco home for evidence linked to prostitute murders in the 1990s.
Phillip Garrido, 58, and his wife, Nancy, appeared in El Dorado County Superior Court on Friday to answer 29 criminal counts that included kidnapping for sexual purposes, forcible lewd acts on a child and rape.
Neither spoke in court and pleas were entered by their attorneys. Garrido, a rapist who served time in prison, showed no emotion but his wife cried in the packed courtroom.
Meanwhile, police apologized for failing to follow up an anonymous tip in 2006 that could have led them to Jaycee Dugard, who was snatched from a bus stop near her South Lake Tahoe home in 1991.
Authorities believe that Dugard, 29, spent most of the past two decades living in squalid tents and sheds in Garrido's backyard. He is accused of fathering two children with her.
Police are seeking evidence that might also connect Garrido to the killing of 10 prostitutes in the 1990s in the industrial area he worked at the time.


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